Shopping in one of the most expensive cities in the world is never a good idea. Or at least, it's not always a good idea. There are not many tips I can give you - Reykjavik is famously expensive. Prices look like phone numbers and what I suggest is to get a nice seashell or a lovely volcanic rock found by the road as a souvenir. But if you still want to spend some money here, these are the places to do so.
Start with a lazy stroll in Laugavegur Street, which is the hub of the city and surely the busiest street of Iceland. It's one kilometre of non-stop shopping, restaurant and coffee shop choices and everything can be found here - from all kind of wooden items, shark-meat snacks to a postbox of the Santa Clause, from plastic Viking horns to the finest designer jewellery.
Picture © Credits to krblokhin
Laugavegur is one of the oldest streets in Reykjavik. A century ago, it was a rural route to Laugardalur from a village by the harbour, when the population of Reykjavik was only 6.000 people. Laundry was done the old fashioned way, so the clothes and sheets were carried six kilometres out of town, dunked in a geothermal hot spring, washed and carried back, heavy and wet. The name itself, Laugavegur, means “Wash Road” because the hot spring where Icelandic women were doing laundry was exactly where this hip street is today. Laugavegur nowadays is lined with shops selling everything you can imagine. It's a fun street to stroll even if just to window-shop.
Picture © Credits to Roman Tiraspolsky
One thing you will notice in Laugavegur, and anywhere else - Iceland is expensive. However, If you still want a jumper or a pair of warm gloves made of famous Icelandic wool, try in the Hand-knitting Association of Iceland. It's a small store with huge selection of handmade sweaters, hats, mittens and socks. The collection is amazing. The shop was founded in 1977 as Icelandic women decided to come together to market their handmade products and today they feature high quality pieces that are both traditional and modern. The association‘s slogan has always been "buy directly from the people who make it“.
Picture © Credits to Lutique
Another souvenir option that makes sense is a book! Prices of books are more or less like anywhere else in Europe and there are some beautiful bookshops around the city. Iceland is known for being a book-loving nation, and each year more than a thousand titles are published. There are many contemporary writers whose books have been translated to English - Sigurjón Birgir Sigurðsson, Andri Snær Magnússon and Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir are just some of them. A former mayor of Reykjavik, Jón Gnarr, a comedian who set up a political party and won the elections wrote a couple of books himself. Check out his book entitled How I Became the Mayor of a Large City in Iceland and Changed the World.
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